A living will is a critical tool to include in your comprehensive Phoenix estate plan. Sometimes called an Advance Directive, it is a legal document that states your healthcare preferences for end-of-life care. It is a completely separate document from your last will and testament and living trust.
What Issues Should You Address in a Living Will in Phoenix?
There are various end-of-life medical decisions that you should address in your Phoenix living will. These decisions are often difficult and require considerable thought. An estate planning lawyer can guide you through each decision.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving medical procedure to restart a heart when it stops beating. Your living will should include if and when you want to be resuscitated by CPR.
- Mechanical Ventilation
Mechanical ventilation is when a machine is used to help an individual breathe. The machine provides oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the body. Your living will should address the following:
- Whether you want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator;
- When you want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator; and
- How long do you wish to remain on a mechanical ventilator
- Tube Feeding
Tube feeding refers to when a flexible plastic tube is placed into your stomach so you can receive nutrients and fluids. It is necessary when you cannot feed yourself. Your living will should specify:
- Whether you want a feeding tube;
- When you would want to be placed on a feeding tube; and
- How long you would want to be placed on a feeding tube
Dialysis is a medical treatment used when your kidneys can no longer function. The process manages your fluid levels and removes waste from your body. In your living will, you should state:
- Whether you want to receive dialysis treatment;
- When you want to receive dialysis treatment; and
- How long do you want to receive dialysis treatment
- Palliative Care
Palliative care (comfort care) refers to interventions that help to keep you comfortable and manage your pain. It is given alongside any other medical treatment you are receiving. Examples of palliative care include:
- Pain medications;
- Breathing techniques;
- Nutritional changes; and
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Organ, Tissue, and Body Donations
In your living will, you can specify whether you want to donate your organs, and tissue or donate your body for a scientific study.
What are the Requirements For a Valid Living Will in Phoenix?
There are specific legal requirements that a living will meet to be valid in Phoenix, Arizona. The document must be written with a clear intent to create a living will dated, and signed. Additionally, the living will be notarized or witnessed and signed by at least one adult. The notary or witness cannot be any of the following:
- A person designated to make medical decisions on the principal’s behalf; or
- A person directly involved with providing health care to the principal when the living will is executed.
Why is a Living Will Important in Phoenix?
Including a living will in your Phoenix estate plan is important for several reasons, no matter your age or health. It will prepare you for any unexpected illness or injury and ensure that your wishes for end-of-life care will be followed. Additionally, it will reduce the stress and guilt placed on your family members. Your family will know they are meeting your wishes, and disagreements will be avoided.
When Will a Living Go Into Effect in Phoenix?
In Phoenix, a living will go into effect when you are incapacitated and unable to communicate your decisions about end-of-life care. A medical professional will make this determination.
What Should You Do With Your Signed Living Will in Phoenix?
After you and your witnesses have signed your living will, you should have several copies made. You should keep the original in a safe space with your other important documents, like your will. You should give copies of your living will to your medical providers, healthcare agent, and attorney.
Can You Change or Cancel a Living Will in Phoenix?
In Arizona, you can change or cancel your living will at any time. You do not need to have a specific reason. If you do revoke or update your living will be sure to give updated copies to your medical providers and healthcare agent.
Your Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney
Nicole Pavlik is an experienced Phoenix estate planning attorney who can help you create a comprehensive estate plan including a Living Will as well as Power of Attorney and critical documents. If you have questions about living wills, call Nicole Pavlik Law Firm today at (602) 635-6176 for a free consultation.